t byfield on 8 Feb 2001 06:44:57 -0000

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Re: <nettime> Strategic Spam

James.Ryan@telemedianetworks.com (Thu 02/08/01 at 04:08 PM +1300):

> Of course, what stops me (and I'm sure everyone else) from actually
> sending out such ideas, no matter how beautiful and valuable they may be,
> is the fear that the act of spamming itself will sully the content and the
> sender, that the militant anti-spammers, many of whom are long-time
> "netizens" with an almost self-righteous sense of ownership over the net,
> will flame them out of existence for the simple ACTION of spamming,
> without even looking at the CONTENT.  I'm sure modesty also plays a
> role--who am I to decide that a particular idea is so wonderful that 20
> million people should get it in their in-boxes unsolicited.

i'm usually leery of analogies for the net and its traffic, but
in this case i'll make an exception.

you have a megaphone. it's got a volume knob. the markings on
that knob are logarithmic: 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, 
1000000, 1000000, and so on. they denote how many people will 
hear what you say through it. you have a 'beautiful' or 'valu-
able' idea. how loud do you turn it up?

millions and millions of people all around the world have the 
same kind of megaphone. they all have 'beautiful' or 'valuable' 
ideas. how loud do they turn it up?

you have a set of headphones. they allow you to suppress this
or that sound on an ad hoc basis that's prone to error in dir-
ect proportion to how systematically you program it. all the
other people have them too. 

along with the megaphones and headphone, everyone was issued an 
array of acoustic devices that permit very complex ways of fin-
ding people you don't know and communicating with them--indivi-
dually or in groups, synchronously or when they feel like it,
overtly or covertly, and so on.

so the question we should ask ourselves whether it doesn't make 
sense to turn the volume knob on the headphones to 10000000. i
mean, after all, anyone who doesn't want to hear our 'beautiful' 
or 'valuable' message right now can just cancel it out (along 
with lots of other messages, maybe), right?

> However, maybe it is possible that the "knee-jerk" 100% absolute
> anti-spamming attitude of many long-time and prominent "netizens" and

yeah, by not turning it up to 10000000, we're just being knee-
jerk. after all, there are people who have devices capable of
reaching 10000000 people too. and we--all of us--have to com-
pete with them, right? otherwise our 'beautiful' and 'valuable'
ideas will get drowned out in all the noise.


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